‘Langya virus’: What is this virus recently discovered in China? – BBC News

  • Mariana Alvim
  • BBC Brazil correspondent, Sao Paulo

August 12, 2022

image source,Getty Images

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Research suggests that shrew may be an animal host for the virus.

An international team of scientists has announced the discovery of a new virus of the Henipavirus family, which is known to cause outbreaks of highly lethal infections in humans.

The research team said that between 2018 and 2021, the “Langya henipavirus” (LayV, commonly known as “Langya virus”) infected at least 35 people in China.

In a letter published Aug. 4 in the New England Journal of Medicine, the scientists wrote that there is no indication that the “Langya virus” can be transmitted through human-to-human contact. They also suggested that the source of infection may have come from an animal — the team found evidence that shrews may be the natural reservoir for the virus, but further research is needed to confirm this.

Of the 35 cases identified in China, 26 have been carefully studied. The study revealed that all patients had a fever, and some cases were accompanied by symptoms such as tiredness (54%), cough (50%), headache (35%) and vomiting (35%). Scientists also found some abnormalities in liver function (35% of patients) and kidney function (8%). But there is no information on any fatalities yet.